JPR Live Session: Elise LeGrow
On Friday, February 26 at Noon, JPR will broadcast a JPR Live Session (from afar) with Elise LeGrow on Open Air.
Elise LeGrow is a singer and songwriter from Toronto. Produced by S-Curve Records founder Steve Greenberg, R&B legend Betty Wright, and studio wizard Mike Mangini (the same trio of Grammy-winners behind Joss Stone's twelve-million-selling Soul Sessions album), LeGrow's 2018 album Playing Chess (which included an enchanting cover of "You Never Can Tell," by Chuck Berry) was drawn entirely from the catalog of Chicago's iconic Chess label - home to pioneers like Muddy Waters, Etta James, Bo Diddley, and others.
Rather than faithfully recreate such revered material, though, LeGrow's interpretations completely strip the tracks of their previous identities, transporting them to a world where the past and present are inextricably intertwined. A mix of beloved classics and obscure rarities, the album's eleven tracks showcase LeGrow's stunning voice and wildly inventive arrangements, which manage to collapse the whole of pop music history down into a singular point in which any song and genre can come together in an endless array of possibilities.
LeGrow's influences truly run the gamut, touching on everything from Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey to Nina Simone and Martha and the Vandellas. LeGrow first became obsessed with singing at roughly the same age she began speaking, and by the time she hit her teens, she was working her way through the American songbook at nightclubs in her native Toronto and touring with an indie rock band on the side. When her voice first reached the ears of Greenberg and Mangini, they understood at once that they'd landed on something special.
Listen Friday, February 26 at Noon for a JPR Live Session (from afar) with Elise LeGrow on JPR's Rhythm & News Service. To listen online, click the orange 'Play' button at the top of the page and select "Rhythm & News." Or grab the JPR Live Sessions podcast at Spotify, Stitcher, or Apple Podcasts.